Understanding the dynamics of multiphase flows to enable their accurate and efficient prediction is of central importance in the oil-and-gas industry. Despite the significant advances that have been made in modelling these flows over a number of decades, however, numerous challenges, and open problems, remain. We present examples of progress made recently in the Multi-scale Examination of MultiPHase physIcs in flowS (MEMPHIS) programme aimed at providing reliable predictive tools. We also highlight the limitations of purely CFD-based approaches, and provide our perspective on potential predictive strategies based on a ‘multi-fidelity’ approach: a true fusion between model-based and data-driven modelling.


Multiphase flows and associated phenomena are ubiquitous in the oil-and-gas industry. As highlighted by the work of Shippen and Bailey [1] "a monumental amount of research and development work has been invested in multiphase flow modelling over the past 50 years." According to the classification of Brill and Arirachakaran [2], we have witnessed a transition from a purely "empirical period" from 1950–1975, which relied on the exclusive use of correlations, to the present "modelling years" era that started in the 1980s wherein multi-fluid models gained prominence; the latter combined momentum conservation equations and flow regime transitions. These models incorporated force balances, accounted for the need to satisfy certain stability and well-posedness criteria, but, nonetheless featured numerous empirical, closure relations [3].

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